To Our Dorm Community,
As news about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, communities across the country and around the world are grappling with how to navigate the headlines and stay safe and healthy. There is no rule book for this.
As mental health providers, we are called upon to mobilize in the event of a public health crisis and to think creatively about ensuring uninterrupted care for our clients and their families. It is during times like these that we are reminded of why we chose this field and why we must work tirelessly to be our clients’ advocates. We are so proud and comforted by the incredible efforts of our team who have been working around the clock to keep our community informed and safe. At The Dorm, we are doing all we can to combat feelings of isolation and maintain a sense of community support and connection that will offer our clients strength in the face of new challenges.
Amidst all of the uncertainty of the past few days and weeks, here are a few things that we know for sure:
We Must Be Adaptable
The most important thing we can do is follow global, regional and local guidelines on keeping our community as healthy as possible, from advice on handwashing to disinfecting surfaces and commonly used items.
At The Dorm, we have reviewed every layer of the organization to make sure that we minimize risks of infection while maintaining the quality of care that our clients need. This includes developing a remote support plan should this be required and coordinating with outside providers on contingency plans for clinical support. It also includes making sure that our team is well taken care of, with extra emergency response sick days should they need them for themselves or to support any dependents as a result of school closures or immediate family members testing positive for the virus.
Clients Need More Support Than Ever
The population we serve is particularly vulnerable to fear and panic. As mental health providers, it is our job to help care for our clients’ mental wellbeing the best we can and to create a sense of stability, safety and continuity.
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An essential part of this has been to maintain an open dialogue with clients and families. We have hosted community meetings to discuss the news, global health guidelines, company policies and, most importantly, to address questions and concerns. We have established clinical contingency plans so that clients and family members know that no matter what, provisions are in place so that we can continue to provide uninterrupted clinical care.
We are teaching our young adult clients about the power of knowledge over misinformation and the importance of facing challenges with reasoned rationale, altruism and open-mindedness over panic, fear and reactionary suspicion. We are reinforcing the importance of not isolating beyond what may be physically required, and to curb time spent ruminating online which can heighten anxiety. More than ever, we are emphasizing the value of healthy, balanced activities that will help the body and mind, including meditation, yoga, exercise and eating balanced, nutritious meals.
Our Community Is Our Strength
Adhering to health and safety measures does not mean that we forget to uphold the values of respect, kindness and compassion that make our community strong. We hope to help our clients build on these values and those of perseverance, integrity and personal accountability during a time that is challenging for so many. We believe that there is a great opportunity here to expand ourselves and to learn from each other, even when that feels most difficult. Together, we know that we will be stronger for it.
Sending everyone strength and best wishes,
John McGeehan, CEO/Founder & Amanda Fialk, Partner and Chief of Clinical Services
For more information on what we’re doing at The Dorm to help keep our community safe, please refer to this client handout and this online presentation which we shared at recent community meetings in each of our locations. If you would like to speak to our team, please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing email@example.com.